France - to book or not to book?

Discussion in 'The Beginner' started by Humphrey Hymer, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. Humphrey Hymer

    Humphrey Hymer Read Only Funster

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    Just got our first motorhome and intending to go to France this August. We are thinking of Eurotunnel and exploring eastern France down to the Alps. Would I be best off to plan an itinery and book up sites in advance or just play it by ear and go with the flow? Many thanks.
     
  2. Reallyretired

    Reallyretired Funster

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    Don't book, it limits your flexibility and, I always find it stressful if I have to be at a particular place at a particular time. The places you find by accident are always the best anyway.

    I have been touring France for around 30 years and have never booked anything and never had a problem.
     
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  3. lesleyjean

    lesleyjean Funster

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    Never been to France in August. But!

    The French take their annual leave in August and the roads and sites I believe are quite busy.

    Cannot really advise you, but thought I would throw a spanner:BigGrin::BigGrin:
     
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  4. tonka

    tonka Funster Life Member

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    France ! August !
    I have never been and would not like to then... As said the French all take their holidays so it's busy.... If there is somewhere particular you want to visit I would book. Any other time of the year apart from August just go, never had any issues with getting a placement.
     
  5. lorger

    lorger Funster

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    Hi and welcome to fun

    We go every year in July or August due to School holidays and have never book a site in France sine we had the motorhome. We did the eastern side a couple of years back and ended up at Annecy we didn't book a site all we did was pick about 10 site and let our daughter and her friend put them in order 1 to 10 and said we would try number one and if full go down the list this was first week of August and we got into first site.

    Also worth getting yourself the book All the Aires some lovely Aires down that area, first one we ever stayed on was at Malbussion (spelling) it was right on the lake and a wee pizza van came round a couple of times and a roast chicken and chip van while every morning a bakers van turned up cost of aire was 4 euro a night.
     
  6. Hollyberry

    Hollyberry Funster

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    I've lived in France since 2007, last 4 years in the Dordogne and "busy" in France is not the same as busy in the UK.
    Even in July /August I've never been stuck in a traffic jam, or failed to find a parking space in town and there are always plenty of places to stop in a motorhome. My small village has an official aire and also a huge riverside carpark where anyone can stop overnight.
    15-20 minutes drive away the most stunning lake with free overnight parking, €3-€5 per vehicle per night to stop in Bourdeilles, alongside the river and within sight of the castle.
    This is duplicated all over France. Meander and enjoy.
     
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  7. mikebeaches

    mikebeaches Funster

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    Generally, the second half of August is much quieter than the first half, because the French are returning from their holidays mid-way through the month, or just after. :thumb:

    Mike
     
  8. callumwa

    callumwa Read Only Funster

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    I lived in France for 10 years. Took my now grown up girls camping every August.

    For the last few years we have motor homed in France in August with my "new" boys (now 4 & 9). Never booked.

    Just when we moved on we make a loose plan and if staying on sites as opposed to aires we would call up either the night before or on the morning to confirm a pitch was available.

    No stress, no pre planned itinerary to follow. If you llike somewhere stay a bit longer if you want to..

    Booking just ties you down... Enjoy...:thumb::thumb:

    Ps.... Welcome to the best motor home site on the net....
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2012
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  9. Jill

    Jill Funster

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    Don't book. Just get (as previously mentioned) all the aires book. Also there are a few phone aps and the cci download.

    Just don't leave it too late when arriving at your destinations so you've got time to move on if necessary.

    We've only had 4 weeks in France since having our mh and you'll soon get the gist of it.

    Enjoy the adventure.
     
  10. Stephen & Jeannie

    Stephen & Jeannie Read Only Funster

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    Sounds great !!!

    Can't find this in my ancient Aires book !!:Doh: Please can you give some information as to where it is !!!:thumb::thumb::thumb:
     
  11. autoswan

    autoswan Funster

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    We are heading for our first trip over to France Easter or August so thanks also for the tips on here, I've recently got all the Aries book n map and can see it will be more than useful out there . My poor attempts at speaking the lingo with my welsh accent should be fun though I hope it doesn't get me in to much trouble ! :france:
     
  12. Bowman

    Bowman Read Only Funster

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    We found the French quite strange! In that they like to inspect you and vehicle before pitching up. Don't think it was just us, some poor family had a right argie bargie just in front of us because they had twin rear axle booked for a week just to get a "no your're not staying here" Would say see where the wind takes you, but in August???
     
  13. sedge

    sedge Funster

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    Wellll - French hols are from the weekend* before Bastille day (15 July) to 15 August, or rather the weekend following 15 August. Before and after that French roads are far less busy.

    * 'Mad Saturday'
     
  14. jollyrodger

    jollyrodger Funster Life Member

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    August...!

    We have toured all over France since Mid 70s, in the early days we booked, but only once.
    Favorite places (when kids were young) being Port Bacares on the med, 6 weeks July-August wild camping using Aires or like others parked up just off the beach.” Very busy”
    That was pre sat-nav days and loads of fun and no bother, mingle with the locals, mostly friendly!
    A bit different nowadays, with the height barriers, and no “Camping Cars” signs for The Motorhome(but be nice you are just parking) worked for us

    On the Motorbikes, you can get away with the wild camping.
    I agree with other funsters comments just go for it and enjoy…
    Last year we went down using Aires downloaded to sat-nav POI ,

    You can try
    Aires de Services Camping Cars
    Anyone wishing to download the Aires in France for sat-nav, have a look at this page select your sat-nav type and register

    http://www.icampingcar.fr/

    It is free to register and they will send you a download free to your email address.

    Plug your sat-nav into your pc and transfer the poi Aires de Services Camping Cars sorted! :thumb:
     
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  15. ValinFrance

    ValinFrance Read Only Funster

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    Haven't been to eastern France but by the west coast, we spent a day driving around campsites in early August trying to get something, anything, anywhere, due to a last minute decision to do the trip.... eventually got a place but it wasn't easy to find (7th site?) and lots of traffic noise etc. Agree the second half of August tends to be quieter...
     
  16. Phill D

    Phill D

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    Where in South wales are you? not been in August as its French holidays but we just book shuttle out and back ( tesco travel vouchers ) and play it by ear.
     
  17. Humphrey Hymer

    Humphrey Hymer Read Only Funster

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    Thanks everyone - I am overwhelmed by the level of response. Think we'll make a loose plan and just go for it. Cheers.
     
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  18. oldun

    oldun Read Only Funster

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    I think this absolute statement needs clarifying.

    If you intend to go to such busy places as the river Ardeche, Mediterranean coastal area, Vendee etc from about 7 July to 14 Aug (approx) then you may need to book if you want a prime position near the centre of things.

    If you are happier with the quieter areas for a few days only then booking should not be necessary though it is always advisable to arrive reasonably early. Long stay pitches are harder to find.

    Outside these date booking should not be necessary at all.
     
  19. WynandJean

    WynandJean Funster

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    You have now surely got the picture about booking. If using Aires they cannot be booked anyway, just turn up and if not suitable go on to the next (there's always another not too far away).

    Do not underestimate the vast size of France. You may plan to reach a particular area and find that it is further than you think - and there's so much more to see on the way.

    As said in previous posts being tied to being in a particular place at a particular time can add stress and a sense of rushing (missing what there is to see en route) We, therefore only book our ferry outbound so are not worrying about how far we can travel before having to rush back to catch the ferry home. When we get towards Calais/Dunkirk on our way back we can book the ferry for a day or two ahead and know that we are already near the coast so no rush.

    If you have other queries just ask. You'll get plenty of advice here. (And don't forget that the best questions are often the ones people are reluctant to ask because they feel like it may be a silly question - no such thing! It's bound to be something the others wanted to ask but didn't like to!)

    Wyn
     
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  20. 1948

    1948 Read Only Funster

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    august 2010 we went to Perpignon, south east coast to visit friends in our MH wanted to stay in campsite was advised by our friends to book up but took advice from another forum that it was not necessary, On arrival , every site we enquired was full and any aire that was near coastal area was jam packed after mid day. Did spoiled our visit a bit as we had to plan where to stay daily and ended up leaving for inland early where places in aire and campsite had more availability.
    If we go agiain and want to stay in a campsite at coastal area we will certainly book in advance.
     
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